In Part I of this article we discussed the importance of socialization – the process of familiarizing your parrot with the people and things that make up its world. Wild parrots are socialized by their parents, mates and flock members, but most or all of these important individuals may be unavailable to captives. Un-socialized parrots generally live stress-filled lives and remain fearful of people. Today we’ll take a look at some simple and effective socialization techniques. Read More »
The trimming of flight feathers is often touted as an important first step in training parrots and other birds, but the process has many other important implications that should not be overlooked. Parrots, finches, softbills, quails – and, as you’ll see, Saurus Cranes – each present different considerations, as do your reasons for keeping the birds and the situations in which they are housed.
It is true that, in general, birds with clipped wings are easier to work with and train than are those capable of flight. This is the most common reason that owners trim flight feathers, and the fact that the feathers will grow back does seem to provide an “insurance policy” of sorts, in case all does not go as planned. Read More »
Finally, some good conservation news! Believed extinct until 81 individuals were found in the Columbian Andes in 1998, the Yellow-Eared Parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis) is now recovering nicely. Thanks to an intensive, country-wide conservation program, the population now numbers over 1,000. In fact, the International Conservation Union (IUCN) has downgraded the species from “Critically Endangered” to “Endangered”, an action that is all-too-rare these days.
Although the bird’s recovery is believed largely due to the efforts of 3 major conservation organizations – Fundacion Pro Aves, American Bird Conservation and Fundacion Loro Parque, over 180 individuals, 47 organizations and numerous local communities also played a vital role. Their spectacular success will no doubt be very useful in serving as a template for recovery efforts aimed at other species of birds.
Survival Problems and Solutions
The Yellow-Eared Parrot faced, in addition to the usual dangers that decimate rare species, a unique threat – it nests almost exclusively in the Wax Palm. This palm, which is also Columbia’s National Tree, is much valued for use in certain religious services of the Catholic Faith, and is itself in danger of extinction. Fortunately, the Catholic Church became an enthusiastic supporter of the parrot recovery plan, and is working hard to reduce Wax Palm usage.
The creation of the 10,000 acre Parrot Conservation Corridor, and an ambitious nest box installation program, is also key to this Yellow-Eared Parrot’s continued survival.
Please see my article Religion, Psittacines and Palms for info on the conservation of this species and the Golden-Plumed Parakeet in Ecuador.
Natural history and conservation info is available in this Birdlife International article.
A cure for Proventricular Dilation Disease (PDD), the bane of parrot-owners, has eluded veterinarians for over 30 years. In 2008, Avian Bornavirus (ABV) was indentified as a probable cause of the fatal neurological disorder. When I wrote about that discovery (please see article below), I hoped that more good news would follow…today I’m happy to file this promising update. Read More »
Throughout my zoo-keeping career, I’ve always favored, at least as captives, the smaller members of any particular group of animals. Be it amphibians, fishes, mammals or birds, smaller creatures are more easily provided with large, complex living quarters…and in such, they are likely to display a greater variety of natural behaviors and to reproduce.
I like to apply the same concept to pet parrots. While the huge species are spectacular, most folks can more easily accommodate Cockatiels, Budgerigars, Grass Parakeets, Lovebirds, Bee Bee Parrots and similarly-sized birds. But rather than keeping them in a standard “small parrot cage”, consider providing them with an “avian mansion”. A pair of Lovebirds housed in a cage suitable for a pair of Amazon parrots will amaze you with their antics – more so, in most cases, than the species for which the cage was designed. Read More »